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Somerset & Dorset
Family History Society

The SDFHS Blog

Lord Dorset’s Recompense

Serendipity (unexpected and fortunate discoveries) can be a marvelous feeling, not least in the course of family history research Some years ago at the British Library, I noticed, quite by chance, that it has an Index of Names associated with its Manuscripts Collection Such indices are invaluable to genealogists Nothing ventured, I inserted the name ‘PITFIELD’ and the search referred me to an amazing document This is a letter from Thomas SACKVILLE, first Earl of Dorset, who was the Lord...

The Joys of the Family Picnic

In a recent Sunday Telegraph there was an article headed 'Back on the menu: the great British motoring picnic' It was accompanied by a wonderfully evocative photo of a couple sitting inches from the roadway enjoying a cup of tea  This sent me scurrying through my old family photos, and I found one just like it probably taken in about 1955 You can see the thermos flask and there is also a blue picnic case that belonged to my grandparents The picnic case was made by Sirram which was...

Update to Secure the Shadow

Following publication in 2018 of the book Secure the shadow - Somerset photographers 1839 – 1939, the authors have continued their research on the photographers who were working in Somerset during this period Much of this has been based on recent releases of digitised newspapers, the most significant being the Central Somerset Gazette (1862-1981) and Somerset Standard (1886-1976) Postcard of Minehead, taken probably in 1935 Although we knew of both these photographers, Richard Kingsley...

The Curious Case of Henry Evelyn Pitfield Sturt

Often family tree research reveals fascinating and sometimes puzzling stories A good example is the history of Henry Evelyn Pitfield STURT Henry was the youngest son of Humphrey Sturt MP (1724-1786) and Mary PITFIELD (1740-1807), an immensely rich couple Humphrey owed his wealth to his grandfather Sir Anthony Sturt who had been a successful businessman in the City of London Through his mother Humphrey inherited the Moor Crichel estate in Dorset He served as MP for Dorset from 1754 to 1784 Mary...

From Shaftesbury to New Zealand Part 2

Mrs Ngaire Greger shares part two of the story of one of her great grandfathers After the two Brickell boys - John and Robert - left the armed constabulary, in about 1869, they lived in the Napier area with their wives and children On 14 May 1874 John, then aged 27, died while crossing a swollen river on his horse He was a roading contractor He left a wife and three daughters Robert Bennett Brickell After leaving the Armed Constabulary Robert farmed He and his family lived in...